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We Got the Beat: Standards Bring Harmony to Music as Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Adds Six Performers in 2021

5/17/2021

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame welcomes six new performers to its ranks this year: Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, the Go-Go’s, Tina Turner, Carole King, and Todd Rundgren. Artists are eligible for a nomination 25 years after they release their first official recording, making Jay-Z and Foo Fighters eligible for the first time this year. Inductees are chosen by an international voting body of more than 1,200 artists, with consideration given to their musical influence on other artists; their career’s length, depth, and body of work; and the innovation and superiority of their style and technique.

Whether these talented artists are in a recording studio or a concert hall, the acoustics of their surroundings has a huge impact on their performance. The audience must hear a proper balance between the singers and instruments; the performer must hear themselves as well as other performers or background music; and any other noises should be inaudible. The Acoustical Society of America (ASA), a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), has developed many American National Standards (ANS) guiding acoustics that support the best possible performances and recordings of these world-famous artists. Many basic principles of acoustics can be found in ANSI/ASA S1.1-2013 (R2020), Acoustical Terminology. This ANS provides definitions for terms used in acoustics and electroacoustics, including general terms that apply to all branches of acoustics as well as terms from the field of music, among many other fields.

It’s hard to picture Tina Turner, often referred to as the “Queen of Rock and Roll,” without her signature mini-dress, spiked hair, and microphone in hand. Her style may have gotten more attention, but the microphone amplified her powerful voice seamlessly with the help of standards. IEC 60268-4, Sound System Equipment – Part 4: Microphones, is an international standard that guides sound system microphones for all applications for speech and music. It was developed by the International Technical Commission (IEC) Technical Committee (TC) 100, Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, is the USNC-approved Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator for TC 100.

Fans of the Go-Go’s, Foo Fighters, and the rest of the inductees can thank standards for supporting high quality playback of their favorite songs through radio, internet streaming, and downloaded music. ISO/IEC 23003-1:2007, Information Technology – MPEG Audio Technologies – Part 1: MPEG Sound, guides multi-channel audio compression technology that can be used efficiently for “surround sound” through many different devices. This international standard was developed by ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, Information technology, Subcommittee (SC) 29, Coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information. The U.S. plays a leading role in JTC 1, with ANSI serving as Secretariat and INCITS serving as the U.S. TAG administrator. INCITS, an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, is also the TAG administrator for SC 29.

Most exceptional musicians discover their talent early in life: Carole King began learning to play piano when she was three, and Jay-Z spent his early years freestyling and writing lyrics after his mother bought him a boom box for his birthday. Young talent is nurtured in school music programs where children perform on choral risers like those guided by ANS ANSI E1.62-2021, Minimum Specifications for Mass-produced Portable Platforms, Ramps, Stairs, and Choral Risers for Live Performance Events. This standard was developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA).

Visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website to learn more about the class of 2021 and all 338 inductees from 1986 to today.

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